Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | July 20, 2009

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says Commonwealth home to 7 high hazard coal ash ponds, including ponds owned by KU, Duke Energy, and LGE.

Kentucky is home to 7 high hazard coal ash ponds.

Kentucky is home to 7 high hazard coal ash ponds.

In response to an EPA information request on units handling wet or slurried coal combustion residues (“CCRs”), electric utilities have so far identified a total of 427 units managing slurried CCRs to EPA.

Forty-four (44) of these units at 26 different locations have been assigned a high hazard potential rating, using the criteria developed by the National Dam Safety Program for the National Inventory of Dams. Hazard potential ratings are generally assigned by the State Dam Safety officials.  The 44 sites were spread across 10 states as follows:

North Carolina, 12 (Belmont, Walnut Cove, Spencer, Eden, Mount Holy, Terrell and Arden).
Arizona, 9 (Cochise, Joseph City).
Kentucky, 7 (Louisa, Harrodsburg, Ghent and Louisville).
Ohio, 6 (Waterford, Brilliant and Cheshire).
West Virginia, 4 (Willow Island, St. Albans, Moundsville, New Haven).
Illinois, 2 (Havana, Alton).
Indiana, 1 (Lawrenceburg).
Pennsylvania, 1 (Shippingport).
Georgia, 1 (Milledgeville).
Montana, 1 (Colstrip).

The infamous TVA coal ash dam in Kingston, TN is not included on the list. The “high hazard” label was self-assigned.  TVA apparently did not consider its coal ash dam at Kingston quite hazardous enough to make the grade.  It makes you wonder whether EPA will actually look into the validity of the information provided to the agency in response to the information request.


CCRs consist of fly ash, bottom ash, coal slag, and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) residue. CCRs contain a broad range of metals, for example, arsenic, selenium, cadmium, lead, and mercury, but the concentrations of these are generally low.   On the other hand, the overall volume of these wastes is enormous.  If not properly managed, (for example, in lined units), CCRs may cause a risk to human health and the environment and, in fact, EPA has documented cases of environmental damage.

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